The Rolling Stones Story is at Sunderland Empire on January 26. We chat to Paul Ashworth who performs as Mick Jagger.
How did the Rolling Stones Story come about?
“I had been working as a ‘Mick’ for some years both as a professional double and performer with a band.
“The Rolling Stones Story was an opportunity to move in a slightly different direction. The theatre show came about as a project with a successful established company, and aims to give audiences a real flavour of The Rolling Stones, moving through the different eras of the band’s career in true spectacular Stones style.
“It’s a full show with costume changes, lights and all the rest, but designed to also suit smaller venues such as regional theatres so that we can tour the show to as many people and places as possible.
“At the end of the day, my job is about playing a role and what better place for that than in a theatre?”
Have you always had a love of music? What did you do before The Rolling Stones Story?
“My teenage bedroom was plastered with posters and collages I made from pictures in the Musical Express and it was always my dream to be in a band.
“It was a long road to where I am now. I’ve done everything from a chef to a teacher to a sports car dealer.
“I was still working when I started performing as Mick Jagger, and along the way my sideline and hobby gradually became my full-time job.
“I love being able to get on stage every night in a different city with the band and call it work.”
What’s your favourite song to perform from the set and why? Or, if one is too hard to choose, do you have a top 5?
“It’s very hard to choose a favourite song by any artist let alone by ones with such long and prolific careers.
“I love the darker 70’s period of The Stones when they were battling various demons.
“If I had to pick from the show set I suppose I’d go with Jumpin’ Jack Flash or Street Fighting Man.
“Jumpin’ Jack Flash is just a masterwork. The lyrics are random and meaningless, but yet so great in combination with the tune. It’s a song that is utterly transformed by playing it at different tempos and I never get bored with it.
“I love Street Fighting Man for it’s slightly punky energy and the way that it captures the rebellious spirit of the time.
“Amazingly we have seen people do salsa dancing to it on several occasions, so it’s a very versatile number!”
What do you like most about being on tour? And what’s been your favourite gig on tour so far and why?
“I love visiting different towns and theatres as every one has its own character and it is great being in dressing rooms that have hosted so many famous names, from Marlene Dietrich to Lucinda Williams via Norman Wisdom.
“Travelling around all over the country is tiring, but it’s good to feel that you’ve done something with your day, and when I listen to the traffic report on Radio 2, all the problem hot spots they are talking about are places I know (and probably hate).
“I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite gig, but I know that the great ones are when there’s the perfect combination of the band and the crowd, when everyone is enjoying themselves and getting into the show – we are very fortunate to have had so many gigs like these and I hope we go on to have many more.”
•Tickets from Tel. 0844 871 3022.